With a show as inconsistent as Fear the Walking Dead, you never know what you’ll get.
Fear the Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 8 was another middle-of-the-road installment, but it did feature reunions, callbacks, and a shocking death that should usher in the final episodes of the series.
Since Charlie’s arrival on Fear the Walking Dead Season 4, she’s been one of the most polarizing figures in franchise history.
That’s what you get when you kill someone as pure as Nick Clark and live to tell the tale.
There was an element of ambiguity surrounding Charlie’s fate since the end of Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 because, with such a severe case of radiation, she stood to die soon after the events at Strand’s tower.
Many believed she was dead, including Daniel, who stepped in to become a father figure to her in her time of need.
I’d love someone, mostly the creatives, to explain how she was fit and healthy when she rocked out of the truck near the beginning of “Iron Tiger.”
Madison: I don’t get it. Why didn’t you want us to see her? Because of the stadium?
Luciana: You haven’t told her?
Madison: Told me what?
Daniel: I thought Charlie was dead. I didn’t think there was a reason to. Madison: Reason to what?
Luciana: Let me tell you on the boat.
Madison: What the hell is going on?
Luciana: It’s complicated.
Madison: No. It’s not.
Charlie: I… I shot Nick. I killed your son.
Charlie: I was scared, and Ennis was dead, and I… I pulled the trigger. I’m so sorry, Madison. I really am.
Daniel: Come on, Charlie. Go, go! Get her inside! Come on. Don’t do something you’re gonna regret.
Madison: Who said I’ll regret it?!
Luciana: Let us explain.
Madison: No! Get off me! There’s nothing to explain! Get the hell away from me! Both of you!
Then again, Troy Otto and Madison Clark returned from the dead in recent episodes, so we should roll with the punches until this is over.
What’s making these storylines more difficult to stomach is that TWD: Daryl Dixon and TWD: Dead City have both reinvigorated this shared TV universe.
It almost feels like we’re being punked with these wild storylines, but I can’t deny that “Iron Tiger” was entertaining.
The pace was off the charts, and its events will have some significant ramifications in the future.
Fans have been clamoring for a reunion between Madison and Charlie since the latter took the former’s son away from her.
If you watch Fear the Walking Dead online, you know Madison would move mountains for her children, so of course, she was going to feel some way about meeting the person who ended her son’s life.
The good news? The writing for Madison was decent, at least initially, as she flew off the handle and called the youngster out for her actions.
Luciana: This may be hard to hear, but we gave her the same thing that everyone else wants… a second chance.
Madison: Even Alicia?
Luciana: Alicia was the first one to forgive.
Madison: I don’t think I can do that.
Strand: No one’s asking you to.
Charlie: Victor… can I talk to Madison?
Strand: I don’t think this is a good time.
Madison: No. Let her. I want to hear what she has to say.
Charlie: I don’t blame you for feeling the way you do. I hated myself for a long time after what I did to Nick. And I don’t expect you to forgive me or anything, but I just… I really need to say this because I honestly don’t know if I’m ever gonna see you again, so…
Madison: No, this is not… this is not for me. This is for you, so that you can feel better about what you did to Nick.
Charlie: I was 11. I was 11 years old, and I was scared, and I was being used by people who were older than me, and I just… Look. I really am sorry that I took Nick from you. I’m so sorry I… I took him from the world. I really have tried to turn all that hurt and all the pain and… and turn it into something more. That’s why I spend every single day doing what I’m doing. It’s… It’s what makes things like this possible. As bad as his death was, something good did come out of it, okay? And if… if there’s anything I can do to help you see that good, just tell me. I’ll do it.
Charlie taking the explosive-filled truck straight in Troy’s direction would never lead to anything good, but the show did a great job of showing this inner conflict for Madison as she realized sending Charlie to a very likely death didn’t make sense for either of them.
Deep down, Madison has been working on her inner demons and is trying to wrestle with her own decisions in the apocalypse, so hearing her pick up the walkie-talkie to try to avert the deadly chain of events she started was satisfying.
The only flaw in her actions is that she should have been aware there was a chance Troy was listening in. Seriously, this show and its freaking walkie-talkies are a disaster waiting to happen.
Charlie’s struggle after being captured was well played by Alexa Nisenson. On the one hand, Madison and co. could hand over P.A.D.R.E.’s location, but on the other, it would be taking this location away from all of the people Madison was looking after.
Strand: I told you this wasn’t a good time.
Madison: No. There is something she can do. You snuck into the stadium, you fooled me, you fooled my son, you fooled Alicia, Victor, everyone. I need you to do the same with Troy Otto.
Charlie: You want me to find out what he’s planning?
Madison: Nope. I want you to do something else. I want you to kill him. Luciana: Madison, don’t do this to her.
Madison: You took the stadium from me. You took my son from me. This is the least you can do.
Charlie: Madison? You’re right. I’ll do it.
Troy’s desperation showed when he made these thinly veiled threats because he should have killed Victor Strand in Fear the Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 7 if he wanted us to believe he meant business.
Charlie killing herself to preserve the location of P.A.D.R.E. came out of nowhere, but it was the only way she could secure the safety of the children.
She may have arrived on the show as a frustrating character, but there were many decent Charlie moments over the years.
Now that she’s dead, it serves as a catalyst for Madison to become more cutthroat because Daniel and Luciana are very likely done with her.
Madison had strong connections with Daniel and Luciana before her storyline was cut short on Fear the Walking Dead Season 4, but it’s hard to tell where these writers will take her next.
Charlie: Why are you cutting their arms off?
Troy: Well, you gotta pass the time somehow.
Charlie: You want Madison to think they’re Alicia. Why did you kill her?
Troy: I’m the one asking the questions. And seeing as it sounds like I’m not the only person to have killed a Clark, I gotta know… Is what Madison said true? Did you kill Nick? He was a friend of mine. More like a brother, actually. Yeah, we were better suited to this world than the last one. At least that’s what I thought until I heard what happened. So why is Madison trying to protect you?
Charlie: She’s giving me a second chance.
Daniel’s anger was warranted because, when you think about it, he always held on to the hope that he would reunite with Charlie at some point.
Knowing she was alive, thrown into the firing line by Madison, and then killing herself to protect Madison’s people won’t wash very well with him.
It’s a shame that this storyline has caused this major impasse in Daniel and Madison’s relationship because they’re a force to be reckoned with when they work together.
Madison catching up with Troy and learning that he has a missing daughter wasn’t entirely unpredictable.
There had to be a reason he was tracking Madison, and in all likelihood, he’ll drop some bombshells on her the next time they cross paths.
It’s a shame we don’t have time to do this storyline justice because we should have a Troy Otto flashback storyline to fill in all the blanks.
Unfortunately, that won’t be happening because we don’t have enough time. Troy should have been the villain for the entirety of Fear the Walking Dead Season 8 to give his return time to breathe.
What are your thoughts on Charlie’s death, TV Fanatics?
Do you think it was justified, or do you think she had redeemed herself?
Do you think Daniel will return to take down Troy, or is he off the show for good?
What are your thoughts on the reunions and callbacks?
Hit the comments.
Fear the Walking Dead continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC and AMC+.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.